How To Use Technology As A Marketing Tool

As a business owner, when you think of technology you probably imagine the computer systems, equipment and machinery that form the infrastructure of your company, and possibly the products or services you deal in, depending on your market. Technological changes happen at an ever-increasing pace, and it can be hard enough to keep up with those product and infrastructure developments, let alone anything else. Savvy business owners know that making use of technology can extend into marketing as well, so if you aren't already using tech to promote your business, get ahead of your competitors and make use of the tools that are available to get your business noticed.

Apps

There's an app for everything it seems, with more being added and developed constantly. It's highly likely that there is an app around that would be very helpful to you if you only knew it existed. If you already have an idea for what would help your business, you can have a look online and see if there are apps that can do what you're looking for. If you haven't got any ideas yourself, don't assume that there isn't anything - there are many innovative and original apps available for all types of consumer. Have a browse for apps that are relevant to your industry or niche and see what you can find. You can also look in industry publications, where apps are frequently reviewed and advertised. Say you have just opened a new Italian Restaurant in a busy city center. Competition is fierce, but by looking at what apps are relevant to your industry, you could make use of restaurant marketing and mobile apps that can give you an advantage over your rivals. If the app you want doesn't seem to exist, you can always create one yourself, or use a freelance designer to create one for you. If it catches on, you may find you have an additional revenue stream as well as a useful app. You can also use apps as an advertising platform, where you pay to have your business featured on the app of your choice, helping you to reach more potential customers.

Communications

Harvesting data that you can use in your marketing is something big businesses do all the time. They request phone numbers and email details when a customer makes a purchase, and then use these to target people they know have already bought from them, and thus are likely to do so again. This is a very useful marketing tool, but it's essential to ensure that when you gather people's personal information, you keep within the current data protection laws. Mobile messaging is one modern way of sending marketing messages, special offers and discount vouchers to existing customers, whereby you send a group text to everyone on your mailing list. Digital signage can be used in the store to attract attention and provide customers with information about special offers and new products.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is becoming less science fiction and more part of everyday life, and small businesses are now just as able to take advantage of AI capability as big ones. Customer service chatbots can encourage people to interact with your website, and if they're interacting and having a positive experience, they are more likely to buy from you. It's true that many people still haven't got used to the idea of talking to a bot rather than a real person, but millennials and the following generation are far more comfortable with these kinds of innovations, and over time their numbers will only increase. If you are considering a chatbot service, shop around for one that can give you the level of service you require, because the systems are still relatively new and do need further development to make them more user-friendly. The investment in this type of tech is likely to remain high, as the potential cost savings for businesses make them well worth the investment.

Remarketing

This is a process whereby you tag visitors to your site and then follow up by sending them marketing communications based on what they have looked at on your site. The two big names in remarketing are Google Remarketing and Facebook's Pixel Code. The tagged records are used to target relevant ads to individuals via their Facebook and Instagram pages and on AdWords. If this is already sounding too techy for you, it's something that can easily be outsourced to a freelance or agency specialist to take care of for you.

The Continuing Power Of Email

Despite predictions that its effectiveness would decline, direct emails are still one of the best ways of reaching out to customers and facilitating conversions. Give your emails spruce up and make sure they incorporate a range of functionalities that will enable your customers to link through easily. For example, are there redirects to products and services that customers might be interested in? Do you have video links, customer service contact buttons, access to your complete catalog and a shopping cart from the email? How about using an automation service for your emails? These can take care of many regular actions including all your automatic responses and scheduling emails.  Services provided can also help send personalized emails by including the individual recipient's name. You can find a system that sends birthday congratulations, thank you notes, we miss you notes and reminders. You should also be making use of analytics to determine what is working and what isn't in your email campaigns.

There are always new ways to use technology to help with your marketing, and if you don't keep up with developments, you run the risk of getting left behind. Use industry news, tech news and watch what the larger businesses are doing to find out about what's new and what you could use to give you an edge. Don't think of tech as being all about infrastructure and product. With the application of some clever marketing tools, the tech will soon be a mainstay of your marketing strategy.